Home Reviews Sumatra PDF Reader: Transparent in its Efficiency

Sumatra PDF Reader: Transparent in its Efficiency

by Ryder Lund
Sumatra PDF Reader Review

SumatraPDF is an open-source PDF, ePub, MOBI, CHM, XPS, DjVu, CBZ, CBR reader for Windows, designed to provide the fastest and most convenient way of reading through said formats. It was released in 2006 by Krzysztof Kowalczyk along with Simon Bünzli and several other contributors, while the number of active developers increased over the years due to its open-source nature. Today we will be diving into one of the fastest PDF readers out there and we will try to demonstrate what makes its clock tick.

Pricing, Availability, and Compatibility

Sumatra PDF is a free and open-source PDF reader designed exclusively for Windows that places a high priority on having a simple user interface.

It is available in installable and portable editions for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. Sumatra PDF is compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista. Windows XP support is available as well on an older version.

Features, Single and Multi-File Management

Sumatra PDF has most of the features you’d expect from a free PDF viewer in its minimalist but intuitive top toolbar. This includes page navigation, continuous and single page viewing modes, zoom controls, and a search bar. You can of course open new files and print from the one currently open as well.

Through the menu in the top left corner, you’ll find a wide array of options, including more view options like page rotation, as well as presentation and fullscreen mode. More navigation and zoom options can be found here too, as well as the favorites tool for saving pages to be able to quickly go to later. Most of these options can be used with keyboard shortcuts as well.

From settings, you can go to the options menu and change things like the default zoom and layout, how settings are remembered and if Sumatra PDF will automatically check for updates. Advanced options open a text file that contains many advanced, very technical settings that most users would not need to adjust or even want to mess with.

In addition to PDFs, Sumatra PDF can also be used to view a variety of other document and ebook formats, such as ePub, MOBI, CHM, XPS, DjVu, CBZ, and CBR files.

Basic GUI

Basic GUI

For those with a wide variety of ebooks, documents, and other such files to read and view on a daily basis, Sumatra PDF is an amazing tool. It opens files quickly and makes reading and navigating through them efficiently and quickly, thanks to the variety of viewing modes:

Viewing Options

Viewing Options

Tools for making bookmarks and organizing files are some of the ways Sumatra PDF accomplishes this.

As for the types of files supported, the often-used document and ebook formats of PDF, ePub, and Mobi can be viewed, along with less widely known ones like XPS, DjVu, and CHM. The comic book formats CBZ and CBR are also supported.

Active Document Report

Active Document Report

Going back to Sumatra PDF’s speed and lightness, being a portable application is one of its unique features. Meaning that it can be put on a USB drive or other portable media and run directly from it, no installation is needed.



As expected, Sumatra PDF has an extensive user manual to assist newcomers in getting the most out of this, at a first glance, simple piece of software.

What Sumatra PDF Reader Does Best

Sumatra PDF is without a doubt the fastest performing PDF reader on the Windows platform. Across its 15 years of existence, the user interface, functionality, and feature set have been polished to near perfection.


While it may not have all the features other free software has, Sumatra PDF is probably your best choice when it comes to reading PDF, ePub, MOBI, CHM, XPS, DjVu, CBZ, and CBR file formats. It does not try to be anything more than that, which is refreshing, and one of the reasons why it actually is on our list of best PDF readers.